Posts Tagged ‘Triple Crown’

Belmont Stakes Day – Saturday, June 9, 2012

DerbyWars.com

We have a $30,000 Belmont Stakes Day game on tap for Saturday. The buy in is $175 and the Prize Distribution goes down to 32nd place. Winner brings home $10k.

Derby Wars

Play Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day games at DerbyWars.com

Also scheduled for Saturday is our $1,000 Belmont Stakes Survivor.  The Derby Wars survivor games are a great value. The buy in is $4 and you can purchase up to three entries. If you selection finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you survive to the next contest race. First place gets $750 and second place brings home $250.

Other games scheduled for Saturday include a $150 Belmont Survivor, a $500 Belmont Park game ($12 buy in), and a $600 Belmont-Hollywood game ($25 buy in).

Fast Track Radio Show

As usual, I will be joining Steve Bortstein on the Fast Track this weekend. The show airs weekends at 10am ET and we do frequently go over the following hour by about 5-10 minutes, so we’re not automatically done at 11am ET. Click here to listen to the show.

HorseRacingNation.com

Horse Racing Nation

Check out all of the latest Belmont Stakes news at HorseRacingNation.com

Check out HRN for updated Belmont Stakes 2012 news, including results, recaps, videos, and selections.

For Saturday, I posted free analysis of the Grade 2 True North Handicap.

Pick 6 Blog.com

Friday night’s Betfair Hollywood Park Pick 6 Tickets are now available for your viewing pleasure. It looks like a moderately tough sequence and make sure to check back for Saturday’s Pick 6 tickets as well. In addition to my Pick 6 tickets, I am also now including a best bet and live longshot for each Hollywood Park program.

Today’sRacingDigest.com

I am offering full card analysis for Belmont Stakes Day on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper Page.

The cost is $10 and includes wagering strategies for all 13-races. Primary/Secondary Pick 6 Tickets included as well.

I have also posted a bonus Saturday free play (Belmont race 13) on my Digest Handicapper page (click view sample).

Note that I posted my analysis before I’ll Have Another scratched, but I have never been a fan and he was not part of my top four selections anyway.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Dullahan

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Dullahan.

Dullahan

Can Dullahan win away from Keeneland? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Dullahan’s sire Even The Score raced 29 times from 2001-04. He won the G2 Mervyn LeRoy and G2 Californian before finishing 3rd in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup to end his career in 2004. He banked more than $751k in his career. His current stud fee is $10k and in addition to Dullahan he is also responsible for multiple grade one winner Take The Points.

Even The Score’s sire Unbridled’s Song (by Unbridled) earned more than a cool million on the racetrack and was on the Triple Crown trail in 1996. The ’95 BC Juvenile hero won the G1 Florida Derby and G2 Wood Memorial before finishing 5th as the favorite in the ’96 Derby.  He is responsible for more than 90 stakes winners including Unrivaled Belle, Midshipman, and Mission Impazible.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Atigun

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Atigun.
Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
Atigun’s sire Istan raced 21 times from 2004-07. He captured a pair of flat mile grade three events (Ack Ack, TP Fall Championship) in ’07 and banked more than $461k in his career. He is also the sire of G3 Lecomte hero Mr. Bowling.

Istan’s sire Gone West (by Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 1987, making waves in the Hutcheson (2nd), Fountain of Youth (3rd), Gotham (1st),  Wood Memorial (2nd), Withers (1st), and Peter Pan (2nd), before finishing 6th in the Belmont Stakes. The late Gone West sired his 100th stakes winner earlier this year.

Can Union Rags Beat I’ll Have Another in the Belmont Stakes?

Union Rags has not improved since turning three. He always finds trouble. He is not bred to run a mile and a half. He is overrated. Are any of these statements true? Are all of them true? I have been reading similar comments about Union Rags on HorseRacingNation.com and it is time to find out if he is the real McCoy or a paper tiger.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags a Belmont Stakes contender or pretender? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Did Union Rags peak as a juvenile?

I agree that Union Rags has not moved forward from a speed figure standpoint but circumstances have prevented him from running fast.

It is difficult to earn a high speed rating in races without much pace. Just ask I’ll Have Another. He did not earn flashy numbers in the Robert Lewis Stakes and SA Derby because those two races had below par early fractions.

Union Rags cruised in the paceless Fountain of Youth and finished a troubled 3rd behind wire job winner Take Charge Indy in the similarly slow-paced Florida Derby. He was only beaten a bit more than a length in his better than looked final Derby prep and appeared to be sitting on the race of his life on the first Saturday in May.

Unfortunately, his Kentucky Derby hopes were dashed before they started. He was shuffled back to 19th early and ended up a respectable 7th after getting eliminated at the break. So long, Julien Leparoux!

Is Union Rags trouble-prone?

Union Rags is not trouble-prone but jockey Julien Leparoux sure found plenty of it in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. His situation reminds me of Lookin At Lucky in 2010.

Jockey Garrett Gomez could do nothing right aboard Lookin At Lucky in the SA Derby and Kentucky Derby. Bob Baffert reached out to Martin Garcia and Lookin At Lucky won the Preakness, Haskell, and Indiana Derby.

Union Rags exits back-to-back miserable trips and the rider switch to John Velazquez comes at the perfect time. Johnny V knows Belmont Park like the back of his hand and won the 2007 Belmont Stakes aboard Rags To Riches.

Does Union Rags have the breeding to handle twelve furlongs?

His late sire Dixie Union won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee Brew. He sired 39 stakes winners from his first eight crops. Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first started following racing in the early 1980’s. Dixieland Band ran in the 1983 Belmont Stakes and finished 14th.  Dixie Union’s offspring are usually effective up to a mile and an eighth.

His dam Tempo raced three times, winning her first two starts at six furlongs and finishing 2nd at a flat mile in her career finale for trainer Bill Mott. Tempo’s sire Gone West (by Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 1987, making waves in the Hutcheson (2nd), Fountain of Youth (3rd), Gotham (1st),  Wood Memorial (2nd), Withers (1st), and Peter Pan (2nd), before finishing 6th in the Belmont Stakes. The late Gone West sired his 100th stakes winner earlier this year.

If Union Rags is going to find added stamina, it will most likely come from Tempo’s mother Terpsichorist (by Nijinsky II). Virginia-bred Terpsichorist was a long distance turf specialist in the late 1970’s, winning races like New York’s Long Island and Sheepshead Bay Handicaps.

Although his pedigree is less than ideal for twelve furlongs, Union Rags has the right running style and proper energy distribution to handle the Test of Champions. He earned strong Late Pace Ratings in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby and quality conditioner Michael Matz should have him primed for his best effort at Belmont Park on June 9.

Is Union Rags the best 3yo in the country?

Union Rags has been my top ranked Triple Crown trail colt since last November and I still think he is the most talented sophomore in the land. I thought he had the raw talent to make a run at the Triple Crown but it was not meant to be.

His best career race was a facile victory at Belmont Park in last year’s G1 Champagne Stakes and he could play the Triple Crown spoiler if he handles the trip and gets to stretch his legs around the sweeping turns. I predict a preferred outside stalk and pounce trip under new pilot Johnny V…may the best horse win!

Belmont Stakes 2012 – I’ll Have Another Triple Crown

I’ll Have Another will take one final step in his quest for Triple Crown glory in the twelve furlong Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags the Belmont Stakes spoiler? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

There is no shortage of fresh horses waiting for him in the Test of Champions including my top ranked 3-year-old Union Rags.

I have always thought that Union Rags was the most talented colt of his generation and he is already a grade one winner at Belmont Park. His new rider John Velazquez won the Belmont Stakes in 2007 aboard Rags To Riches and the Michael Matz trainee could play spoiler on June 9.

Dullahan is a 2-time grade one winner and was last seen rallying for the show in the Kentucky Derby. He can seemingly run all day and looms a late running threat under new pilot Javier Castellano.

Alpha loves the Big Apple and owns a long winded pedigree. He finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby but could go much better at Big Sandy. His trainer Kiaran McLaughlin saddled 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil.

Bodemeister is getting a rest but trainer Bob Baffert could be represented by late bloomer Paynter. The G3 Derby Trial runner-up earned a 106 BSF in a romping allowance win on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico on May 19.

At this stage at least a dozen horses are aiming at the Belmont Stakes. Check out Horse Racing Nation for all of the latest Triple Crown news and I’ll post daily blogs here with updated Belmont Stakes news.

Belmont Stakes 2012

Will I’ll Have Another Sweep Triple Crown?

I’ll Have Another will try to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 when he runs in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9.

I'll Have Another

Does I’ll Have Another have what it takes to win the Triple Crown? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Since Spectacular Bid in 1979, eleven 3-year-olds have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in their Triple Crown quest at Belmont Park.

Spectacular Bid appeared to be a slam dunk in the ’79 Belmont Stakes but received a questionable ride and finished 3rd. Pleasant Colony was also 3rd in his failed bid in 1981. Alysheba finished a disappointing 4th behind runaway winner Bet Twice in 1987. Easy Goer turned the tables on his arch rival Sunday Silence to deny history in 1989.

Touch Gold turned the tables on Silver Charm in 1997. Real Quiet moved too soon and Victory Gallop made him pay the price late in 1998. My value top Lemon Drop Kid spoiled Charismatic‘s party in 1999.

Big Brown

Big Brown was a big frown in 2008 Belmont Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

War Emblem faded to 8th while Sarava lit up the tote in 2002. My Derby top Empire Maker got sweet revenge on Funny Cide in 2003. I was never on the Smarty Jones bandwagon and was not surprised to see him go down to Birdstone in 2004. Finally, I was not a fan of Big Brown and expected him to go down in flames in 2008 but I was not smart enough to come up with Da Tara.

I did not start attending the races until 1980 so I just missed Spectacular Bid’s 3-year-old season, but I did see the last ten failed attempts and know how hard it is to complete the sweep with a win in the Test of Champions.

I’ll Have Another has a winning spirit, versatile running style, and a promising pedigree, but is that enough to complete a seemingly impossible task? History is not on his side.

Mario Gutierrez has been a huge asset up to this point, but so was Stewart Elliott aboard Smarty Jones until he was harassed by Rock Hard Ten (Alex Solis) and Eddington (Jerry Bailey) at Big Sandy. Kent Desormeaux jumped the gun in ’98 aboard Real Quiet and Gary Stevens and Victory Gallop tagged him late. Gutierrez has been a cool customer so far but the inexperienced pilot could get lost in the vastness of Belmont Park.

Ruler On Ice

Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On ice – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Fresh, talented rivals also make the twelve furlong task a daunting one. Empire Maker, 2nd to Funny Cide in the 2003 Derby, skipped the Preakness and turned the tables on him in the Belmont. Birdstone did the same thing to Smarty Jones in 2005. The last six Belmont Stakes winners (Ruler On Ice, Drosselmeyer, Summer Bird, Da’  Tara, Rags To Riches, Jazil) did not run in the Preakness Stakes.

The most dangerous threat to I’ll Have Another is Union Rags. The Michael Matz trainee is a 3-time graded winner exiting back-to-back troubled trips under Julien Leparoux in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. I have always thought that he was the most talented member of his generation and a clean trip is all he needs to prove me right. Look for Matz to reach out for an experienced NY rider for the Belmont Stakes.

Alpha is another interesting candidate and reminds me of last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Stay Thirsty. He owns tactical speed, is bred to run all day, and should get better with age. Kiaran McLaughlin won the 2006 Belmont Stakes with Jazil. This year’s Kentucky Derby show finisher Dullahan is also waiting in the wings.

Much will be written and said in the weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes. I would like to see a Triple Crown winner as much as anyone and will be pleasantly surprised if history is made at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9. Let the games begin!

Preakness Recap: I’ll Have Another Wins Again

In a virtual repeat of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another ran down Bodemeister to win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

I'll Have Another

Will I’ll Have Another end the Triple Crown drought? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bodemeister set a controlled tempo as expected and briefly appeared home free in the lane but I’ll Have Another put in a relentless rally and stuck his neck out in deep stretch.

It was almost nine lengths back to show finisher Creative Cause.

I’ll Have Another completed his nine and one-half furlong journey in 1:55.94 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice. Once again, Mario Gutierrez rode the son of Flower Alley perfectly for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill.

Bodemeister was game in defeat and has accomplished so much this year for trainer Bob Baffert. The Preakness was his third start in the last five weeks and he is not expected to contest the Belmont Stakes.

I’ll Have Another will attempt a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. If he pulls it off he would be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Let’s recap the entire Preakness field…

1st – I’ll Have Another: Ran down Bodemeister again. He has won four straight and goes for Triple Crown at Belmont on June 9.

2nd – Bodemeister: Looked home free but once again he ran out of gas late. He has been very busy this year and has earned a rest.

3rd – Creative Cause: Did all of the pace dirty work and could not match strides with the top two. He is another in need of a break.

4th – Zetterholm: NY-bred ended up an okay 4th for Dutrow. I would not be shocked if he showed up in the Belmont Stakes.

5th – Teeth of the Dog:  Second stringer for Matz ran about as well as expected and remains a few notches below the best.

6th – Optimizer: Has now dropped eight straight on conventional dirt. He clearly prefers turf or synthetic.

7th – Cozzetti: G2 Tampa Bay Derby show finisher remains eligible for an entry level spot. Lone win in slop at CD.

8th – Tiger Walk: Stalked and faded on Saturday. Graduated on turf and could end up back on that footing.

9th – Daddy Nose Best: Has won on dirt, synthetic, and turf so Asmussen has plenty of options in the coming months.

10th – Went The Day Well: Motion trainee barely lifted a hoof. He handles any ground and is much better than he showed today.

11th Pretension: NY-bred needs a much easier spot.